Archive for the 'Dress Shirts' Category

30
Dec
16

Tuckerman and Co. – Great Dress Shirts Made in the USA

NEW HAVEN — A startup launched by a couple of Yale grads is quietly making a name for itself in the fast-growing business of premium organic work clothing made in the USA. A couple of Yale grads are finding success with a $145 work shirt made in the USA from organic cotton.

Source: Making Great Clothing That’s Also Organic And Made In The USA – Hartford Courant

by Sujata Srinivasan

Making Great Clothing That’s Also Organic and Made In The USA

amanda-rinderle-and-husband-jonas-clark

NEW HAVEN — A startup launched by a couple of Yale grads is quietly making a name for itself in the fast-growing business of premium organic work clothing made in the USA.

“You had Patagonia for the weekend but nothing if you needed a suit to wear to work,” said Amanda Rinderle, who along with her husband Jonas Clark began Tuckerman & Co. from a start-up incubator at Yale last year.

“Everything’s fast fashion, so it’s not made to last. We looked into it and realized that there was a huge environmental problem, particularly for cotton. It’s one of the most chemically-intensive crops in the world,” said Rinderle.

Rinderle, 30, and Clark, 34, are tapping into a growing consumer class driven to make purchases that are in line with both fashion and personal values. The couple – who met in Cambridge, Mass., before moving to Connecticut to attend Yale – began their entrepreneurial venture because they were frustrated at not being able to find ethically sourced, high-quality work clothing that was made to last.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, cotton covers just 2.4 percent of the world’s crop land but accounts for 24 percent of the global sales of insecticide and 11 percent of pesticides sales.

“We’re outdoorsy people and have been big fans of Patagonia and their approach to their supply chain,” said Clark. “They switched to organic cotton long before it became cool. We thought – ‘gosh, where’s a Patagonia for the office?’ That kind of got us off and running.”

As luck would have it, Patagonia’s Chief Storyteller Vincent Stanley was giving a talk at the Yale School of Management where Rinderle and Clark, then students, cornered him with the pitch for Tuckerman & Co., named after their favorite hiking trail in New Hampshire.

Stanley not only liked the idea, he got onboard as an advisor. “I was encouraged by the impeccable quality of the final product,” he said.

The men’s dress shirts – single line stitching, raised hems, buttons from tree nuts in Panama, interfacing stitched in to avoid chemicals – are made from organic cotton grown in Israel and woven in Italy by suppliers who hold the Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) certification. The material is cut and sewn at a factory in Fall River, Mass., where workers are second and third generation unionized shirt-makers with healthcare coverage, earning an average hourly pay of $12. The company has no employees besides Rinderle and Clark.

Launched in New Haven from a start-up incubator at Yale last year, Tuckerman has raised close to $100,000 in grants, including $30,267 from 255 donors on Kickstarter in 2014, when the duo was in their second year. Clark said the online start-up quickly became profitable but he declined to divulge revenue. The company is test-marketing a line of women’s shirts.

“Most people who are paying $100 for a shirt at a retailer – that shirt cost $25 to make,” said Clark. “Because we are direct to consumer, we cut out some of those mark-ups along the way.”‘

Tuckerman’s dress shirt is priced at $145. Brooks Brothers non-organic cotton Herringbone French Cuff dress shirt, for example, woven in Italy, is priced at $325.

“The concern about the environment is spreading. However, when the price is high, such concerns matter less,” said Narasimhan Srinivasan, professor of marketing at the University of Connecticut. “But obviously Tuckerman is catering to an upscale market. It’s economically viable.”

For artisanal clothing makers, a small group of loyal customers is all it takes to sustain sales. “The market segment for longer lasting versus cheap throw-away clothes is growing,” said Anne MacDonald, former chief marketing officer at Macy’s and an advisor to Tuckerman. “The shopper who buys only on discount and in price promotion department stores such as Macy’s and H&M is not the primary customer Tuckerman is targeting.”

Tuckerman sees its core customers as consumers willing to spend on brands that value people and the planet. These consumers choose to support retailers who help build sustainable supplier communities abroad and the buy local movement at home. Nearly 20 percent of Tuckerman’s sales are accrued in Connecticut as buyers spend dollars in support of local craftspeople and retailers.

Demand for Made in USA wedding gowns is driving sales at Modern Trousseau in Woodbridge, which sells across the U.S. and also in the U.K. and Japan at an average wholesale price of around $1,800 per gown. In Ridgefield, Fox-Rich Textiles Inc., a fabric converter, supplies material for hunting and theatrical accessories.

At the Hartford Denim Company LLC, launched in 2010, Dave Marcoux, 32, co-founder, said sales continues to grow locally. Priced at $235 each, the jeans are made in Hartford on antique sewing machines and a Connecticut logo goes on every pair sold in the U.S., Sweden and Japan. The thread is sourced from New Bedford, Mass., and the denim from North Carolina. “We want to support the domestic economy as well as avoid child labor,” said Marcoux.

Tuckerman & Co. Hoagy Check

Tuckerman & Co. Hoagy Check

The demand for small online stores selling handcrafted work including clothing has spurred the phenomenal success of marketplaces like Etsy, which has 24 million active buyers and gross merchandise sales of $2.39 billion in 2015.

“Young entrepreneurs are bringing back a fashion-forward spirit in America,” said Jacob Harrison Long, CEO of the American Woolen Company, which manufacturers fabric for J. Crew and Jos. A Banks in Stafford Springs. In the last 18 months, his firm has aligned with 22 garment start-ups. “We’re tapping into a new Made in America phenomenon brought on by online apparel start-ups. Five years ago they were making nothing. Now they’re doing upward of $20 million in revenue.”

Much of that growth rests on support from a small but fierce band of loyalists who buy well, buy less, and derive satisfaction from an aesthetic wardrobe that’s gentle on the planet.

Tuckerman & Co. does not advertise online and relies on word-of-mouth and repeat customers. Reorder rates are more than 60 percent and the startup ranks high on Internet searches for men’s dress shirts alongside small artisanal companies such as Rawganique and Solne in the U.S. and Culturata in Canada. Clark views Brooks Brothers as the closest competitor, despite the disparity in pricing

“The purpose of Tuckerman is to make great clothing but to do it in a way that does right by those involved,” said Rinderle. “For us, that means working with partners who use fair labor practices and safe working conditions. It’s a real point of pride for us to make our shirts here.”

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Editor’s Comment
It is great to see another maker of dress shirts made in the USA. Check out their website: Tuckerman & Co. And don’t forget they are organic. Tuckerman and Co. was a Kickstarter project like another dress shirt maker Hucklebury.
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19
Mar
12

What Makes a Good Shirt with Simon Spurr – YouTube

What Makes a Good Shirt with Simon Spurr – YouTube. One of my final contestants for “Best dress shirts made in the USA”,  Simon Spurr, offers information about what goes into his dress shirts from Jan 29, 2010. The video is 4 minutes and three seconds.

16
Mar
12

Best Dress Shirts Made in USA vs the World

Mainpoint – clothingmadeinusablog searches for the very best dress shirts made in the USA and compares them to the best shirtmakers in the world. We will also investigate what goes into a good quality shirt.

The United States has had no shortage of great shirtmakers over the years. However, great U.S. shirtmakers like Arrow, Gant, Hathaway, Ike Behar, J.C. Penney, Kenneth Gordon and F.A. McClure no longer make any shirts in the United States anymore. There have been a couple of holdovers such as Brooks Brothers(est 1850) and J. Press(est. 1902) still alive and kicking. The rest are relative new comers.We shall see how the newcomers stack up against the rest of the world.

What Makes a Good Quality Shirt

Before we investigate the U.S. shirtmakers and who makes the best dress shirt, we should first learn what goes into a very nice shirt. To do this, I think we should investigate the features that go into those $200 to $1,000 shirts by the world’s best shirtmakers.

Cotton

Most fashion people would agree that number one – the most important quality is the fabric or material. A quality fabric has a higher thread count and it is from a known reliable source. For instance, one of the most used fabrics is cotton, not just ordinary cotton, but cotton that has an extra long staple (ESL) making it more durable. There are three commonly used variants of ESL cotton: 1) Pima (named after the Pima Indians that first helped raise the first Pima cotton in the US, Pima Cotton is 5% of all cotton produced in the U.S.) was first found in South America and it is grown in abundant qualities in Peru and Ecuador; 2) Egyptian cotton – named for obvious reasons; and 3) Sea Island cotton – grown on the Sea Islands off South Carolina and Georgia, USA. (For a great article on Sea Island Cotton see the article by A Continuous Lean). Some of the best cotton is bought and then sent to Italy or England or Switzerland for very high quality and expensive processing. The one problem with evaluating a shirt with a fine quality and high thread count is that you can’t see it with the naked eye. Maybe you can feel it once you try it on, but you can not be entirely sure. This is when you have to trust the salesperson and the store that you are shopping in. Internet shopping? Good luck.

Other Fabrics

Cotton is the number one fabric but there are many other fine fabrics which include Irish linen, Swiss voile, Italian twill and other materials with exotic names like Batiste and Marcella. Poplin used to describe a material made of a weave of silk, cotton, wool or rayon. However, lately the term now means 100% cotton of high quality.

Processing and Designing

For the world’s best shirtmakers, they acquire the finest raw materials available. And they deliver them to their own manufacturing plant where they have total control. They are not mass producing, they are not making a millions of shirts and flooding the market. No, they are only making quality shirts. At the plant they have their own designers.The designs are original and you will not find these designs in other stores by other shirtmakers. The dyes used are expensive and do not fade. In Italy and France, at the top places the material is pre-washed before being sewn, therefore, they are ready to wear. In England, at the top places, expensive dyes are used, but they are not pre-washed, therefore, British cloth has to be washed two to three times in order to allow for shrinkage. In mass produced factories, cheap cloth, cheap thread, cheap dyes and extremely cheap labor are used that is why they shrink, fade and fall apart after a couple of washings. No top shirt maker would dare have their shirts manufactured in East Asia, Central Mexico or Mexico, they do not want to tarnish their reputation. If you do find shirts from those areas, then the shirt manufacturer can be definitely considered second or third tier (or lower).

Sewing and Tailoring

Some of the very top shirtmakers hand sew everything. Kiton, Luigi Borelli, Barba Napoli do everything 100% hand sewn. Brioni is 68% hand sewn, the rest hand-directed. When talking about high quality tailoring, there will be a couple of terms that one will eventually run into. One is “sartorial”, which basically means tailored. The other is “bespoke”, which means made to measure. First, one has their dimensions measured and recorded and then a shirt or suit based on your proportions is individually tailored. “Cut” means a type of tailoring. An Italian or European cut is one that is more tapered and careful fit, showing off the figure a bit more. An American or full cut gives a more square appearance and is a little more roomy. Each has its proponents.

With the very top shirtmakers, if the shirt has a pattern like stripes, extra effort is made so that the design goes unbroken at the front button flaps or at the collar if possible. The top back of the shoulders pattern should run contiguously down the arms, and at the cuffs, if possible. The very top shirtmakers will always have mother of pearl buttons, some more deeply cut than other less expensive shirts. Collars are of particular importance in top shirtmakers. They usually will have embedded stays or the collars may be fused to keep the collars stiff over time.

The Weave

Dress shirts have several different commonly used patterns such as: broadcloth, poplin, pinpoint, oxford, end on end, twill, Sea Island and King Twill. Click on the link:WEAVES to see the various patterns.

The Very Top Shirtmakers of the World

We will highlight a few of the very finest shirtmakers. One may note that big name designers, although they make great high quality shirts, have been disqualified from being at the very top, because they do not own their own manufacturing plants but rather ship them to a contracted clothing manufacturing plant. These would include: Prada, Armani, Versace, Dior, Dolce and Gabbana, and Gucci.

Charvet

It seems that no discussion about the best shirts is complete without the inclusion of the name Charvet. Charvet has been the gold standard for so long. It is like Mercedes Benz in the automobile sector. There may be a few better than the gold standard but may be they are a little over the top. One of the reasons that Charvet is the gold standard is because it is the oldest shirtmaker. Charvet started in France in 1838. They are known for their precisely matched patterns and special tailoring to create a “one-piece feel.” All shirts have mother of pearl buttons. And there is no place in the world that has a larger selection of different and superior fabrics – over 6,000 fabrics. Their headquarters are in Paris, France, in a place named the Place Vendome, where these fabrics are on display. Here at the Place Vendome, on the second floor, one can be measured for a shirt and one can select the fabric and pattern. But realize, this may be a task, there are 200 distinct whites and 200 blues to choose from. There is one interesting note, many Charvet shirts will have a left sleeve that is 1/4 inch longer in order to accommodate a watch. Charvet shirts typically sell for over $400 per shirt – the ready to wear ones, the bespoke shirts will cost more, naturally.See the video link of the director of Charvet, Jean-Claude Colban, about how Charvet shirts and ties are made.

Brioni

Brioni was founded in 1945 in Milan, Italy. Brioni makes shirts the old fashioned way, handmade. Most shirt and suits are handmade (estimated 68%). They choose quality raw fabrics and manufacture the cloth in their own Brioni plants. They add mother of pearl buttons and tailor the garments with the preferred Italian cut. Brioni has their own tailoring school, four years and an internship. The best are hired at Brioni, if they want the job.Brioni has three stores in the United States, located in Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and Miami (Bal Harbour). The cost of a Brioni shirt is around $500 or more.

Kiton

Kiton was established in 1968 in Naples, Italy. All shirts and suits are hand crafted. Kiton is also known as the company that makes the most expensive suits. A bespoken suit with a special great fabric may run about $50,000. Kiton has its own manufacturing plant as well. Top quality raw fabrics, dyes, designs, mother of pearl buttons and great tailoring. Kiton says each shirt goes through 19 steps, all handmade (Charvet goes through 18). Kiton only makes a total of 20,000 suits for the entire world each year. They, also, have their own tailoring school, like Brioni. Kiton has three stores in the United States: New York City, Las Vegas and Miami. The typical price for a Kiton shirt is over $500 to $1,000.

Turnball and Asser

Turnball and Asser was established in 1885. In London there are two magnets of English clothing making. For classic business shirts, there is Jermyn Street, named after Henry Jermyn (1604-84), first Earl of St. Albans, who was responsible for the development of London’s West End as a business and retail Mecca. For suits, there is London’s Savile Row.Turnball and Asser are located on Jermyn Street. T & A obtain quality fabrics and the fabrics are woven in Italy and assembled in their Gloucester factory.Turnball and Asser has two stores in the United States, one in Beverly Hills and one in New York City.

Breuer

This little known company is my favorite. Breuer started in 1892 as a tie maker, moving the business to France in the 1930’s. They have been making clothes since 2000. So, Breuer is a French designer and the clothing is made in Italy. These high quality gems are about half the price of Charvet and Brioni, without any loss of quality. The problem is trying to find them. Last time, I checked they were in the New York City Saks Fifth Avenue.

Eton

Eton is a Swedish company started in 1928. Eton is different in several respects besides being from Sweden. The long fiber cotton (which is exclusive to Eton) is put through a state-of-the-art closed weaving process (instead of pressing) in Zurich, Switzerland which results in a crease-free and smooth feeling garment. The button holes have 125 stitches each. The buttons have only two holes each (patented) for easier removal with just one hand. The shirt collars are top fused to keep their shape stiff. The average cost of an Eton shirt is about $250. However, it is more and more difficult to find shirts made in Sweden, more are being made in Romania and Estonia. But since 2013, Eton has developed a new premium brand of Eton shirts called DNA, these are all made in Sweden.

Other Top Shirtmakers by Country

France – Hermes, Lanvin

Germany – Haupt, Jacque Britt, Van Laack

Italy – Luigi Borrelli, Isaia, Luciano Barbera, Canali, Lorenzini, Loro Piana, Finamore, Barba Napoli, Brunello Cucinelli, Tom Ford, Davide Cenci, Stefano Ricci, Emenegildo Zegna, Etro, Fray.

United Kingdom -Duchamp, Gieves and Hawkes, Hilditch and Key, Ede and Ravenscroft, Budd, New and Lingwood, Hawes and Curtis, Crombie.

Dress Shirts Made in USA

Dress shirts made in the United States over the years have been very good, maybe not competing for the top spot with the very best of the world, but still more than adequate. In choosing of the 19 listed shirt manufacturers made in the USA – first , I might eliminate Hamilton, because they are often bespoken (tailored to to your measurements and not ready to wear. Out of the rest, five may be the vying for the top spot: Robert Talbott, Oxxford, Black Fleece, Thom Browne, and Simon Spurr (link to Esquire Magazine article). Robert Talbott shirts are nice but 95% of the shirts are not made in the U.S., Oxxford, better known for bespoken suits, are extremely difficult to come by, having just one store in New York City and all. That leaves three. The newcomer is Simon Spurr who is an English designer. Spurr worked for Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren before starting on his own. Dress shirts by Simon Spurr are relatively new and few, most are Italian made, but some are American made (Simon Spurr no longer makes shirts). Thom Browne is an American, born in Pennsylvania. He worked with Ralph Lauren before starting out on his own. He collaborated with Brooks Brothers to develop the Black Fleece brand – a finer dress shirt, and made in the USA. So, the choice for the finest dress shirt made in the USA is really between Thom Browne and Brooks Brothers’ Black Fleece. And the winner is Thom Browne. 2nd is Black Fleece. Thom Browne can be found at Barney’s. The price of a Thom Browne shirt is between $225 and $350. Thom Browne shirts are the best dress shirts made in the USA, but fall a little behind Charvet, Brioni and Kiton in regards to the fabric. Still, they are a great shirt and with care the shirts should last for years. If you want a great price for a high quality Black Fleece shirt, get on the Brooks Brothers e-mail list. They are always having sales and at times one can find up to 70% of Black Fleece.

Update: Brooks Brothers and Thom Browne ended their contact in the summer of 2015. The Black Fleece line has ended. There are just a few clearance items left on the Brooks Brothers’ website as of October, 2016. Thom Browne still makes a few items in The USA, but makes a majority of his clothing in other countries. With the elimination of Black Fleece, Thom Browne and Simon Spurr, this would leave Hamilton as the best maker of American shirts.

Bespoken in the USA

There are still some clothing stores that specialize in made to measure suits and shirts.Click on the link to United States Custom Shirtmakers List. In a bespoken shop, one first chooses the fabric and pattern, while the tailor takes the measurements. Then, after a couple of weeks, the customer returns to the shop for a final fitting. Some places will mail them to you. Prior to 1900, this was the only way to get a dress shirt. Some people swear by bespoken shirts. Remember to avoid clothing made by slave labor: by buying slave labor clothing, one is condoning slave labor practices.

Listing of Dress Shirts – Made in USA

  1. American Apparel
  2. Band of Outsiders
  3. Black Fleece (Brooks Brothers)
  4. Blues Jean Bar
  5. Brooks Brothers
  6. Frank & Eileen
  7. Gitman Brothers
  8. Hamilton
  9. Hlaska (no longer making shirts)
  10. Hickey Freeman (rare)
  11. Ike Behar (no longer making shirts in U.S.)
  12. J. Press
  13. James Perse
  14. Lipson
  15. Oxxford
  16. Rag and Bone
  17. Robert Talbott
  18. Simon Spurr
  19. Thom Browne

“Nothing earth-shattering has happened in men’s fashion. How much can you do with men’s clothes?” -Calvin Klein




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